Q & A Session – Proving Reprisal


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I worked at an administrative office that managed several programs and reported to upper management. I was being harassed by one of the ladies in the unit, and I filed an EEO complaint. Within a week I was transferred out to work at a detention center. My duties were also removed and now I am answering public calls all day. I filed a retaliation claim naming my first line all the way up the chain of command since they all refused to have a discussion with me.

After the initial investigation, the case was remanded for a supplemental investigation by the EEO Director and Adjudications in DC. The memo outlined that management had failed to provide evidentiary evidence that I was causing conflict in the workplace and that I actually received an outstanding performance rating and awards. Everyone I named in the initial complaint then submitted additional affidavits but never produced evidence such as disciplinary memos, e-mails or notes. I submitted rebuttals to each affidavit. Although the outcome was seemingly in my favor, the FAD stated that I failed to prove I was being subjected to a hostile work environment and reprisal.

If the agency was never able to prove a legitimate explanation for their actions, why did the FAD rule in their favor?


Your appeal of a FAD, or final agency decision, is to the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations or to federal court. Normally, an attorney would be helpful in assembling and presenting you case.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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